An effective cross-channel marketing regime is essential for almost all brands these days as consumers constantly flip between on and offline channels, but carry an expectation continuity throughout.

In an interview published in Oracle’s eBook, Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Cross-Channel Marketing Claudia Townsend, assistant professor marketing at the University of Miami, School of Business Administration describes the key considerations for brand in the world of cross-channel marketing.

Townsend drills into three key issues; the importance of having a flawless cross-channel experience and the ways brands can achieve that plus the issues that can arise when they don’t provide a seamless experience. 

Seamless service

When it comes to providing a faultless cross-channel experience to both consumer and prospects, Townsend notes two vital reasons.

Firstly, consumers are not using one source of media so no brand should be.

According to Townsend, “The quintessential example of this is what marketers are referring to as the “second screen” meaning that consumers and prospects are on their laptop, tablet, or mobile device while watching TV.”

She explains this is an example of simultaneous multi-media usage. But she said they also see consumers and prospects engaging with different media at different times of day though this is not new.

“Whereas in the past marketers talked about the consumer or prospect who read the newspaper in the morning, listened to the radio during her morning commute, and then watched television at night, now it is the same thing just magnified with more sources,” she said.

Secondly, the explains how different media have different benefits and consumers and prospects have different expectations from different media.

Townsend says a brand really can’t do everything with one form of media.

“For example, a great deal has been said about how social media is great for brands for building trust and creating a personal connection. It is very easy to develop brand personality and rapport with consumers and prospects on social media.

“That being said, consumers and prospects generally do not like to feel like they are being sold to over social media. So it’s a great way to develop a relationship. But a more overt sales message ought to be on a different platform. Brands need to recognise this and optimise the use of each source of medium. No one media can be used for everything,” she adds.

Delivery and execution

There is a notion that different media are optimal for different actions, regardless brands have to ensure the message is seamless.

Townsend points out three aspects of this, the first two being connected where there needs to be consistency in how the brand and message is defined across channel.

The first point, she says to identify your brand and keep it consistent, “If the brand is light-hearted and witty in its ads, then that same tone needs to be used in social media.

“Brands make the mistake of perceiving social media as a more relaxed and casual interaction than traditional media. While this is true, the voice of the brand—who it is and how it speaks to the consumer or prospect—needs to remain consistent.”

social media

Townsend also says is it important for brands to identify their message and stay on this message across media.

That may seem self evident yet many brands fail to do this, and the structure of decision making – often split employees and an agency – or even multiple agencies can caused a dislocated experience.

She asks, What is the take-away message that you want consumers and prospects to learn? Is it that your brand offers a specific feature or quality? That it is low- price?

“Whatever that message is, it needs to be reaffirmed every time the consumer or prospect engages with the brand—whether that’s when viewing a print ad, visiting the website, the Facebook page, the store, or whatever.”

The last point is to acknowledge that the various media channels do not each work in a vacuum and to make the most of that.

“So the consumer or prospect who sees a particularly good television ad might be motivated to visit the company’s website or Facebook page. Or the consumer or prospect who reads a Tweet might be motivated to visit the store,” she explains.

Townsend says brands are, indeed, capitalising on this—featuring social media hashtags and/or web addresses in traditional media or making their television ads available on YouTube.

She says, “But all brands need to assume such behaviour will occur and then take the next step of motivating it because a consumer’s or prospect’s brand involvement naturally increases when he engages with the brand across media.”

The real risk

Townsend says this is a huge opportunity that brands cannot ignore.

“If you are missing a media channel you may be missing the chance to engage with the consumer or prospect in, not just another manner, but a different manner with different benefits,” she says.

She notes the consumer and prospects these days expects this multi-channel approach, “Their view of the brand is going to be negatively influenced if, after viewing a television ad, they find the brand doesn’t have a social media presence or, if after seeing the brand on social media, they are unable to locate its latest television ad campaign on YouTube.”

About this author

Athina Mallis is the editor of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which Oracle is a member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefits of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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